To stop the spread of COVID, many facilities managers use disinfection technology. This includes UV lamps that use ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVGI) to deactivate pathogens. However, new research shows some of the negative side effects of UV disinfection on IAQ.
Side Effects of UV Disinfection on IAQ
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities use UV Lamps to disinfect the air as well as high-contact surfaces in buildings. While effective in reducing the spread of viruses, one side effect of UV disinfection is a reduction in indoor air quality.
A recent study about the unintended effects of Ultraviolet C Lamps sheds light on the issue. The research focused on a commercial UVC device. The research found that using UV lamps increased the concentration of gases and small particles. The device used in the study focused on a high-intensity device for short durations in unoccupied rooms. However, lower-intensity devices used continuously in occupied rooms also pose a threat to IAQ.
The danger of such UV disinfection side effects is in the inhalation of these tiny particles. When particles enter the lungs this impacts the health of building occupants causing asthma and allergy symptoms. Long-term exposure could lead to more serious health consequences such as respiratory diseases.
Although ventilation reduces gas and particle concentrations after switching off the device, it may take up to 40 minutes for IAQ in the room to return to the previous levels. Therefore, it’s recommended that the room remain unoccupied immediately after disinfection takes place. Different UVGI devices affect indoor air quality in different ways. Before the usage of such devices is widely adopted, the side effect of UV disinfection needs further study.
Using Building Sciences to Limit UV Disinfection Side Effects
It is the duty of building owners, facility managers, and building engineers to ensure that the people they serve have a safe and healthy environment to work or learn in. Toward that goal, WTI | PACS Building Sciences suite of services helps stakeholders resolve potentially expensive IAQ issues. That includes dealing with all side effects of UV disinfection.
Our Building Sciences team includes expert IAQ technicians who specialize in conducting building evaluations and forensic investigations as well as providing consultation on indoor air quality. Our technicians also test indoor environments and provide expert witness testimony regarding the safety, comfort, and energy efficiency of occupied spaces. The team can provide a benchmark baseline for IAQ before and after building managers use UV devices in occupied spaces.
Our Building Sciences also include a Building Health Check to screen and assess dust, allergens, and mold levels. This service also records the temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the walls and floors. Additionally, our HVAC Hygiene Assessment measures the effect a building system has on IAQ. Further protection in the form of monitoring comes from IAQ Guard 2.0. This system offers 24/7 monitoring of indoor environmental conditions through an all-in-one module while a remote team observes. This allows facilities managers to react fast to any changes in environmental conditions including the negative side effects of UV disinfection.
WTI Environmental Test Chamber
Another important step in maintaining safe indoor spaces is testing. For example, WTI laboratory services use their environmental test chamber to conduct product efficacy studies. In fact, the WTI Environmental Test Chamber is one of the few laboratories in North America that offers bespoke aerobiological testing chambers for evaluating air purification devices (APDs), antimicrobial agents, and chemicals.
The laboratory uses a state-of-the-art custom-built testing chamber lab. The chamber is fully accredited under A2LA, CDC ELITE NY State Department of Health. The test chamber evaluates a variety of APD products including UVC lamps. Facilities managers receive a thorough report containing the results, a data log, and images after the completion of the tests and analysis. The effectiveness of the product can then be determined based on the results. In addition to UV devices, the WTI Environment Test Chamber also conducts testing on air-cleaning devices, floor coverings, cleaning and filtration products, and HVAC equipment.
Learn More About UV Disinfection Side Effects
For more information on how WTI | Pure Air Control Services helps building managers understand the side effects of UV disinfection, contact us today.